Amid the ongoing protests by farmers against Centre's new agriculture laws, Ministry of Finance on Friday said that the government is empowering its farmers and accelerating agriculture growth through Atma Nirbhar Bharat package. Providing details on the progress made in disbursing loans through Kisan Credit Cards (KCC), the ministry said that 169.77 lakh KCC holders with credit limit of about Rs 1.54 lakh crore have been covered under the special saturation drive for farmers announced in the stimulus package.
As part of the Rs 20.97 lakh crore Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package to revive the rural economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in May had announced coverage to 2.5 crore farmers under the KCC scheme with a credit boost of Rs 2 lakh crore through a special saturation drive. The provision was made to help farmers meet financial requirements during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit will be provided to boost 2.5 crore farmers through Kisan Credit Cards in a special drive," the FinMin said on Friday.
This move will help 2.5 crore farmers to gain access to institutional credit at concessional interest rate. PM-KISAN beneficiaries, fishermen and those involved in animal husbandry have been included in this drive.
The Kisan Credit Card was introduced long back in 1998 with the objective to provide adequate and timely credit to farmers for their agricultural operation. The Centre provides interest subvention of 2 per cent and prompt repayment incentive of 3 per cent to farmers, thus making the credit available at a subsidised rate of 4 per cent per annum.
The government has taken major farmer friendly steps by extending the benefits of KCC with interest subvention in 2019 to animal husbandry including dairy and fisheries farmers for their working capital requirement and raising the existing limit of collateral free agriculture loan from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.60 lakh.
Farmers from Punjab and other parts of North India have been camping at Delhi's Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and Chilla (Delhi-Noida) border points for more than two weeks to demand a repeal of the farm laws enacted in September. They have had multiple talks with the central government but no agreement has been reached yet.